New research on development issues in Vietnam – Volume 7, number 24 (2015 August 3)

Agriculture and rural development

Agriculture in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Mary E. Burfisher, John Dyck, Birgit Meade, Lorraine Mitchell, John Wainio and others. USDA Economic Research Report No. ERR-176, 2014.

Abstract: The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade and investment agreement under negotiation by 12 countries in the Pacific Rim, including the United States. This report assesses the potential impacts of eliminating all agricultural and nonagricultural tariffs and tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) under a TPP agreement on the region’s agriculture in 2025—the assumed end date of the pact’s implementation—compared with baseline values for 2025 without a TPP. Cutting tariffs is only one of the many goals of the TPP negotiations, but it is an important one for agricultural trade. The value of intraregional agricultural trade in 2025 under a tarifffree, TRQ-free scenario is estimated to be 6 percent, or about $8.5 billion higher (in 2007 U.S. dollars) compared with baseline values. U.S. agricultural exports to the region will be 5 percent, or about $3 billion higher, and U.S. agricultural imports from the region in 2025 will be 2 percent, or $1 billion higher in value compared with the baseline. Agricultural output in the United States will increase in most sectors due to increased market access within the TPP region, especially in cereals (1 percent), dairy products (0.5 percent), and meat (0.4 percent). Among TPP members, the largest percentage gains in agricultural output will be in meats in Australia, dairy in New Zealand, and “other agriculture” in Singapore. Agricultural output quantities will decline in most sectors in Japan and Vietnam in 2025 relative to the baseline.  Free full text

Gender analysis of households’ decision-making to reduce post-harvest losses of cassava in Ghana, Nigeria, and Vietnam.
P.B. Abdulsalam-Saghir, Ben Bennett, W. Quaye, Viet Phu Tu, L.O. Sanni and others. Food chain, 2015, volume 5, number 1-2.

Abstract: This study analysed gender dimensions of decision-making at the household level in cassava enterprise in Ghana, Nigeria, and Vietnam in the context of risks and benefits to food security to ensure value addition to reduce post-harvest losses from cassava. Rapid participatory rural appraisal was used to select a total of 501 households in the countries chosen for this study. Focus and group discussions (F and GD) and semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect primary data. Data were analysed descriptively. Twenty cassava-based activities linked to gender activities in cassava processing households in the selected countries were identified. In all three countries, final decisions to allocate and use resources were taken by men – although women are commonly responsible for post-harvest management. Ownership of production and processing assets is positively skewed to men across the sample with women having rights of use only. Household decision-making objectives for generating peels and attitudes towards cassava peels vary by country and by lineage/descent, largely influenced by culture, level of education, religion, formal employment opportunities, and income levels. Household cassava peels utilization has low value and is therefore not a focus of male interest in Ghana and Nigeria but if value is added, this dynamic may change. This was different in Vietnam where peels are processed generationally for additional household income. This study proposes the design of empowerment/development strategies such as group dynamics and skill acquisition to increase women’s bargaining and decision-making capacities and reduce male/elite capture of interventions.

Impact of certification system on smallhold coffee farms’ income distribution in Vietnam.
Thi Minh Chi Nguyen, Li-Hsien Chien and Shwu-En Chen. Asian Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development, 2015, volume 5, number 6, pp. 137-149.

Abstract: This study attempts to investigate the impact of the working certification programs on the income of the coffee farms operated by the local smallholders at Dakha District, Kontum, Vietnam. Followed by the comparisons of the socio-demographic and economic characteristics between certified and non-certified farmers, the study adopts the Binary Probit model and linear regression model were applied to analyze the decision on farmers’ attitude for participation on the available certification programs and their impacts. Propensity score matching (PSM) was applied to examine the average treatment effect of certification program on net coffee income per hectare to reduce the selection bias. Statistical results show that net coffee income per hectare is positively influenced by certification participation. Furthermore, education status the household head, number of members involved in coffee cultivation, distance from household to town center, and training availability effect significantly on net coffee income. Moreover, four matching algorithms of PSM highlighted that members of the certified cooperative achieve higher net coffee income per hectare compared to non-certified ones. Finally, how to introduce an organizational framework to assist local smallhold farmers and local coffee cooperatives become more effective and influential in domestic coffee value chain are suggested. Free full text

Impacts of Exchange Rate Volatility and FDI on Technical Efficiency—A Case Study of Vietnamese Agricultural Sector.
Nguyen Khac Minh, Pham Van Khanh and Nguyen Viet Hung. American Journal of Operations Research, 2015, volume 5, pp. 317-325.

Abstract: The objective of this research is to examine impacts of exchange rate volatility and FDI on efficiency of the Vietnamese agricultural sector at the provincial level for the period 1998-2011. Due to the characteristic of high uncertainty in agricultural production, the chance-constrained programming model would be used to estimate efficiency of the agricultural production sector. In order to study impacts of exchange rate volatility and FDI, we employ the two-stage model. In the first stage, we use the chance-constrained programming model to measure technical efficiency and ARIMA model to quantify exchange rate volatility. In the second stage, we use the fixed effect model to evaluate impacts of exchange rate volatility and FDI on efficiency of agricultural production in poor and rich provinces. The estimated results show that fluctuation in exchange rate volatility would reduce efficiency in agricultural production but FDI has an insignificant impact on the efficient production in Vietnam agricultural sector. Free full text

Government support and profitability effects – Vietnamese offshore fisheries.
Nguyen Ngoc Duy, Ola Flaaten and Le Kim Long. Marine Policy, 2015, volume 61, pp. 77-86.

Abstract: Bioeconomic theory and empirical evidence have demonstrated that open-access fisheries tend to break even and also that intra-marginal rent may be generated in heterogeneous fleets. Theoretically, input and output subsidies are expected to increase profit in the short term, but not in the long term. Vietnamese government subsidies of offshore fishing vessels are investigated and quantified, and their profitability effects are examined, through representative surveys of costs and earnings data. The subsidy schemes had positive effects on vessel profitability, with the quasi-lump sum fuel cost support having the greatest effect. The largest vessels received relatively more support than the smaller ones and earned most of the super-profit as well as the intra-marginal rent generated. However, higher subsidies for larger vessels did not help all of them achieve higher economic performance. The subsidisation programmes may come from infant industry arguments, the strategic rent-shifting incentives of neighbouring countries, social and geopolitical objectives, and because of South China Sea border security reasons. [sci].

Vietnam’s seafood boom: Economic growth with impoverishment?
Melissa Marschke and Gordon Betcherman. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 2015, pp. 1-22.

Abstract: By 2050 most seafood will be sourced through aquaculture, with a range of production intensities being required to sustain livelihoods and to meet future needs from seafood. This makes Vietnam a particularly insightful case, since Vietnam is at the forefront of the trend toward greater aquaculture production. Our aim in this paper is to examine the social-ecological sustainability of small producer livelihoods contributing to Vietnam’s seafood boom. This paper uses original survey data to understand the range of fishery-based livelihoods that have contributed to Vietnam being a leading global exporter of seafood. We investigate the kinds of fishery-based livelihood activities that households are engaged in, consider the type and amount (kilograms) of species caught or farmed annually, and examine household perceptions’ of change in species quantity. We find that Vietnam’s seafood sector is facing real sustainability challenges: Nearly 30 % of small producers—fishers and fish farmers—within our sample rest at or below Vietnam’s rural poverty line. Ecological decline and disease in farmed fish is perceived to be a serious issue for all fishers. In this context, policy and management interventions need to better reflect social and ecological variability, adopt an integrated coastal systems perspective across fisheries and aquaculture, and consider the most impact-effective poverty interventions. [spr]. Free full text

An Analysis of Factors Influencing Rice Export in Vietnam Based on Gravity Model.
ThiHongHanh Bui and Qiting Chen. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 2015, pp. 1-15.

Abstract: Vietnam is known as one of the biggest rice exporters in the world. Rice from Vietnam is available in more than 120 countries and territories in all continents in the world. Vietnam’s exported rice increases quickly in terms of quantities, but its export value is not high and increases slowly. Also, it does not ensure the benefits and incomes for the rice farmers. This makes the rice export of Vietnam not effective, unsustainable, and unstable. In order to describe the processes involved in factors influencing rice export in Vietnam, the present study has used the gravity model with research time from 2004 to 2013. According to hypothesis raised in the chapter, results have revealed that the biggest impacts on Vietnam rice export are gross domestic product (GDP), price, population, and exchange rate. [spr].

Technical Efficiency and Productivity of Maize Producers in the Mekong Delta.
Vo Van Dut. International Journal of Agricultural Economics and Management, 2015, volume 4, number 1, pp. 35-45.

Abstract: This study investigates the possibilities of productivity gains and the technical efficiency of maize farmers in the Mekong Delta (MD), Viet Nam. Using the stochastic production frontier measures such technical efficiency and productivity. The study using the survey data in the two provinces locating in the MD reveals that there was a wide range of variation in technical inefficiency. The latter mainly stems from experience and training participation of maize farmers. The study suggests that there is an opportunity to increase the technical efficiency level of the maize crop in the MD by enhancing the technical guidance of new technologies in maize production through launching several trainings to farmers. Free full text

Economic development

Price-level instability and international monetary policy coordination.
Hong Thang Nguyen. The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, 2015, volume 15, number 1, pp. 309-337.

Abstract: In a two-country open economy model, Bencivenga, Huybens, and Smith [2002, What to Stabilize in the Open Economy, International Economic Review 43, 1289–1307] investigate three policy regimes and find that a fixed exchange rate regime, where the country with the lowest reserve-to-deposit ratio is charged with maintaining the fixed rate, and a price-level targeting regime are both more prone to price-level instability than a constant money growth rate regime. This paper, by replacing their “helicopter drops” assumption with an open market operations assumption, shows that the two rules of fixing the money growth rate and targeting the time path of the price level work equally well. Additionally, under a regime of fixed exchange rates, it does not matter which country is charged with keeping the fixed exchange rate.

Changing Political Economy of Vietnam: The Case of Ho Chi Minh City.
Martin Gainsborough. Routledge, 2015.

Abstract: This book explores the way in which the state has become commercialised under reform as party and government officials have gone into business and considers the impact that this has had on politics within Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. The book charts the way in which power has been decentralised to the lower levels of the party-state but argues that the central state retains significant power. These issues are explored through a variety of case studies including the implementation of different reform policies, struggles over political and business activity, and the prosecution of two major corruption cases. Particular emphasis is placed on piecing together the myriad of informal practices which dominate business and political life in Vietnam.

Fiscal incentives and enterprise performance: Evidence from the UNIDO Viet Nam Industry Investor Survey 2011.
UNIDO and MPI, 2015.

Abstract: The Working Paper “Fiscal incentives and enterprise performance: Evidence from the UNIDO Viet Nam Industry Investor Survey 2011” attempts to shed light on wether fiscal incentives support private direct investment in Viet Nam. [UNIDO-FIA-2015-eng]. Free full text

Overseas factories, domestic employment, and technological hollowing out: a case study of Samsung’s mobile phone business.
Keun Lee and Moosup Jung. Review of World Economics, 2015, volume 151, number 3, pp. 461-475.

Abstract: Analysing the case of Samsung Electronics’ mobile phone business, this paper examines the effects of establishing factories abroad on domestic jobs and the issue of technological hollowing out. The offshoring of mobile phone assembly to China, India, Brazil and Vietnam did not result in a reduction of domestic jobs. On the contrary, Samsung’s domestic employment increased from 5960 persons in 2002 to 20,500 in 2012. This increase mainly reflects a net increase in high-paying jobs (R&D, engineering, design, marketing) while the number of low-paying jobs (assembly) remained stagnant. To cope with possible technological hollowing out, Samsung kept its core engineers/technicians in a special unit, instead of firing them, whenever domestic assembly lines were reduced or foreign lines were established. They were kept inside the so-called ‘global manufacturing technology center,’ with the number of its employees increasing from 80 in 2006 to more than 1103 in 2011. These employees visit overseas factories to conduct activities such as maintenance, monitoring, re-modeling of assembly lines, and automation. In terms of strategy, Samsung engages in offshoring, but not outsourcing. This is in contrast to Apple which does both offshoring and outsourcing by contracting with Foxconn.


Out-of-school Children in Viet Nam: A country study.
UNICEF, 2015.

Abstract: The report looks at the situation of out-of-school children between the ages of five and 14 years old including children who had never attended school or who had dropped out and children who attended five years of preschool, primary and lower secondary school and were at risk of dropping out, meaning children who were at risk of becoming out-of-school children (OOSC) in the future. It analyzes barriers and bottlenecks that restrict children’s schooling opportunities and proposes recommendations to reduce the number of OOSCs and ensure equity in education and the right to education for all Vietnamese children. The report provides a national analysis with in-depth OOSC profiles for eight provinces: Lao Cai, Dien Bien, Ninh Thuan, Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Thap and An Giang. [OOSC-Eng]. Free full text

Readiness for education of children with disabilities in eight provinces of Viet Nam 2015.
UNICEF Viet Nam, 2015.

Abstract: In 2014, UNICEF has supported MOET in implementing a study on the readiness for education of children with disabilities in eight UNICEF supported provinces in Viet Nam with field visits to three provinces including Dien Bien, Ninh Thuan and Kon Tum. The study aims to examine the readiness of schools and community to provide inclusive education for children with disabilities and readiness of these children to go to school. In order to carry out the study, a consultancy team from International Center for Disability and Rehabilitation (ICDR) of Toronto University, Canada has been contracted by UNICEF for the period from 1st November 2013 to 30th August 2014. –

Findings from the study highlight a number of notable policies and practices that point to a favorable foundation on which to build and strengthen an education sector to support inclusive education and access for boys and girls with disabilities. The study indicates that the Government of Viet Nam has made significant progress in support for education over the past 25 years and it is anticipated that Viet Nam will achieve its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with regard to Education by 2015. However, more effort is needed to bring the benefits associated with the attainment of the MDGs to children who remain excluded from education and whose right to education has not yet been realized, such as children with disabilities and those from ethnic minority groups. The main barriers to these children’s access to education lies both in lack of accessibility of education and limited quality education for these children. –

Key recommendations have been made to improve policies related to improvement of equity in access to education and quality of education for children with disabilities as well as to raise awareness of right holders and duty bearers on existing policies. Of particular, recommendations are made for MOET and provinces to expedite the provision of quality education to children with disabilities through the improvement of the data and information system to enable provinces to collect, update and use the data on children with disabilities for better education sector planning, M&E and more effective teacher recruitment, deployment and teacher training. [Readiness-eduForDisabilities-Eng]. Free full text

Sự sẵn sàng cho giáo dục trẻ khuyết tật: Nghiên cứu tại 8 tỉnh ở Việt Nam.
UNICEF Viet Nam, 2015.

Abstract: Vào năm 2014, Quỹ Nhi đồng Liên hợp quốc tại Việt Nam đã hỗ trợ Bộ Giáo dục và đào tạo tiến hành nghiên cứu về sự sẵn sàng trong giáo dục cho trẻ khuyết tật tại tám trên tổng số 63 tỉnh, thành phố của Việt Nam. Trong số đó đoàn đã đi thực địa 3/8 tỉnh gồm Điện Biên, Ninh Thuận và Kon Tum. Nghiên cứu này nhằm mục đích tìm hiểu mức độ sẵn sàng của hệ thống giáo dục và của cộng đồng trong việc cung cấp giáo dục hòa nhập cho trẻ khuyết tật cũng như sự sẵn sàng của bản thân trẻ trong việc đi học. UNICEF đã hợp đồng với một nhóm các chuyên gia của Trường đại học Toronto, Canada để cùng phối hợp thực hiện nghiên cứu.

Các phát hiện từ nghiên cứu này đã nêu bật những điểm mấu chốt trong chính sách và thực hành giáo dục nhằm mở rộng cơ hội tiếp cận và nâng cao chất lượng giáo dục hòa nhập cho các bé trai và bé gái khuyết tật. Nghiên cứu chỉ ra rằng Chính phủ Việt Nam đã đạt được nhiều thành tựu trong giáo dục suốt hơn 25 năm qua và chắc chắn sẽ đạt các mục tiêu Phát triển thiên niên kỷ liên quan đến giáo dục vào năm 2015. Tuy nhiên, vẫn cần nỗ lực nhiều hơn nữa trong tiến trình thực hiện mục tiêu Phát triển thiên niên kỷ liên quan đến những nhóm trẻ hiện còn đang gặp nhiều rào cản trong tiếp cận giáo dục như trẻ khuyết tật, trẻ em dân tộc thiểu số. Rào cản trong tiếp cận giáo dục đối với nhóm trẻ này bao gồm cả việc tiếp cận về mặt thể chất tới cơ sở vật chất trường học cũng như chất lượng, nội dung chương trình hiện hành.

Nghiên cứu đã đưa ra các khuyến nghị chú trọng vào việc thi hành các chính sách hiện hành nhằm cải thiện công bằng trong tiếp cận giáo dục cũng như nâng cao chất lượng giáo dục hòa nhập cho trẻ khuyết tật đồng thời nâng cao nhận thức của các cơ quan chỉ đạo và phía các đơn vị, các cá nhân cung cấp dịch vụ giáo dục cũng như nhận thức của chính người khuyết tật về các chính sách dành cho họ. Đặc biệt các khuyến nghị nhấn mạnh việc. Bộ Giáo dục và Đào tạo và các Sở GD&ĐT song song với đổi mới quản lý dữ liệu, thông tin làm bằng chứng cho lập kế hoạch, theo dõi, giám sát chất lượng giáo dục cho trẻ khuyết tật sẽ chú trọng hơn tới việc đào tạo, tuyển dụng và phân bố giáo viên làm việc với những nhóm trẻ này.. [Readiness-eduForDisabilities-Vie]. Free full text


Coastal Sea Water Quality of Nha Trang Bay, Khanh Hoa, Viet Nam.
Vo Tran Tuan Linh, Duong Trong Kiem, Pham Hong Ngoc, Le Hung Phu, Pham Huu Tam and others. Journal of Shipping and Ocean Engineering, 2015, volume 5, pp. 123-130.

Abstract: Nha Trang Bay is famous not only because of its beauty, but also of the biodiversity values, especially coral reefs. Thus, the sea water quality monitoring systems are necessary for effective and available managements to protect the ecosystems and for sustainable development. There have been several monitoring systems here but they have been done separately and unconnectedly. This research was done to take an overview and access the status and changes of water quality from 2007-2014. The data obtained rainy seasons over the years showed a quite good environment here. The environment changes were also monitored and there were some changes between seasons and over years, decreasing, increasing, or unobvious trends. However, the difference was not so much; and there was not the sign of environmental degradation in the bay from 2007 to 2014. Besides, the stoichiometric nutrients limitations were initially assessed. Since Si ratios here were always higher compared to N and P, there was not increased potential for non-diatom algal blooms. Together with the recorded nutrients concentration data, it can be said that there was no evidence of eutrophication in the bay. Although there was partial contamination of some parameters at few moments, the sea water quality of Nha Trang bay was still in a good condition (according to Vietnamese and ASEAN criteria). Free full text

Effect of Land Use Change on Runoff and Sediment Yield in Da River Basin of Hoa Binh province, Northwest Vietnam.
NGO Thanh Son, NGUYEN Duy Binh and Rajendra Prasad SHRESTHA. Journal of Mountain Science, 2015, volume 12, number 4, pp. 1051-1064.

Abstract: The objective of this study was to assess runoff discharge and sediment yield from Da River Basin in the Northwest of Vietnam using Soil and Water Assessment Tools (SWAT) model. The SWAT model was calibrated and validated using the observed monthly stream flows and sediment yield at selected gauging stations. The results indicated that SWAT generally performs well in simulating runoff and sediment yield according to Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE), Observation’s standard deviation ratio (RSR), and percent bias (PBIAS) values. For runoff, the values of NSE, RSR, and PBIAS were 0.98, 0.02, and 3.69 during calibration period and 0.99, 0.01, and 1.56 during validation period, respectively. For sediment yield, the efficiency was lower than the value of NSE, RSR, and PBIAS during calibration period were 0.81, 0.19, and -4.14 and 0.84, 0.16, and -2.56 during validation period, respectively. The results of the study indicated that the vegetation status has a significant impact on runoff and sediment yield. Changes in land use type between 1995 and 2005 from forest to field crop and urban strongly contributed to increasing the average annual runoff from 182.5 to 342.7 mm and sediment yield from 101.3 to 148.1 ton-1 ha. Between 2005 and 2010, a decrease of both runoff (from 342.7 to 167.6 mm) and sediment yield (from 148.1 to 74.0 ton-1 ha) was due to the expansion of forested area and application of soil conservation practices. The results of this study are important for developing soil and water conservation programs, extending future SWAT modelling studies and disseminating these results to other regions in Vietnam. Free full text

Environment and management implications: a study of Vietnam.
Durriya H. Z. Khairullah and Kathleen M. Premo. Business Studies Journal, 2015, volume 7, number 1, pp. 1-13.

Abstract: The paper discusses several environmental factors and management implications using the five different cultural dimensions of Hofstede and Hofstede and Bond as applied to the various management practices in Vietnam. The report is based upon discussions and information provided by senior management of various businesses, U.S. officials, and faculty members from universities operating in Vietnam. In addition, the paper reviews and reinforces earlier scholarly research about management practices in Vietnam. The findings of this study together with those of previous studies could provide relevant information to managers who plan to conduct business in Vietnam. [ebsco].

Assessment of Vulnerabilities to Climate Change for Urban Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Management: Case Study in Dong Nai River Basin, Vietnam.
Lam Vu Thanh Noi and Vilas Nitivattananon. Environmental Development, 2015.

Abstract: Climate change (CC) is likely to have negative impacts in many regions of Southeast Asia including Vietnam. Increased understanding of Vulnerability Assessment (VA) methods and their applications are gaining much more interest. However, there is a shortage of practical CC risk and VA tools and techniques in the context of urbanization particularly for Water and Wastewater (W&WW) infrastructure management. In addition, W&WW infrastructure management is a complex issue with a limited knowledge of how to incorporate CC issues into local plans, thus bringing more difficulties in developing good adaptation measures and strategies. Therefore this paper describes results and experiences of applying various assessment tools and techniques for assessment of CC vulnerabilities of urban W&WW infrastructure management. Improved understanding of CC risk assessment in Dong Nai river basin, Vietnam is presented. Our research findings provide an adaptive supportive platform for conducting VA for urban W&WW infrastructure at the local level through an integrated assessment approach, through applying selected assessment tools and techniques, including Bayesian Networks, Multiple Criteria Analysis, Impact Matrix, Problem Tree Analysis and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). This work presents an integrated approach of applying a suite of tools and techniques for facilitating implementation of CCVA at the local level. Importantly, PRA is a critical technique that provides input data for other tools and techniques used in the assessment process, especially for investigating local vulnerabilities and adaptation measures. Further studies are recommended to develop appropriate assessment tools which would support the application of CCVA process at the community level. [sci].

Regional climate simulations over Vietnam using the WRF model.
S. V. Raghavan, M. T. Vu and S. Y. Liong. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 2015, pp. 1-22.

Abstract: We present an analysis of the present-day (1961–1990) regional climate simulations over Vietnam. The regional climate model Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) was driven by the global reanalysis ERA40. The performance of the regional climate model in simulating the observed climate is evaluated with a main focus on precipitation and temperature. The regional climate model was able to reproduce the observed spatial patterns of the climate, although with some biases. The model also performed better in reproducing the extreme precipitation and the interannual variability. Overall, the WRF model was able to simulate the main regional signatures of climate variables, seasonal cycles, and frequency distributions. This study is an evaluation of the present-day climate simulations of a regional climate model at a resolution of 25 km. Given that dynamical downscaling has become common for studying climate change and its impacts, the study highlights that much more improvements in modeling might be necessary to yield realistic simulations of climate at high resolutions before they can be used for impact studies at a local scale. The need for a dense network of observations is also realized as observations at high resolutions are needed when it comes to evaluations and validations of models at sub-regional and local scales. [spr].

Sustainable Ho Chi Minh City – Climate Policies for Emerging Megacities.
Antje Katzschner, Dirk Schwede, Michael Waibel, Lutz Katzschner, Michael Schmidt and others. Springer, 2015.

Abstract: As climate change and urban development are closely interlinked and often interact negatively, this edited volume takes Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam’s first mega-urban region as a case study to analyse its vulnerability to climate change and to suggest measures towards a more sustainable urban development. The book offers an overview on land use planning regarding the aspects of urban flooding, urban climate, urban energy and urban mobility as well as spatial views from the angle of urban planning such as the metropolitan level, the city, the neighbourhood and building level. It shows that to a significant degree, measures dealing with climate change can be taken from the toolbox of sustainable urban development and reflects how institutional structures need to change to enhance chances for implementation given socio-cultural and economic constraints. This is merged and integrated into a holistic perspective of planning recommendations, supporting the municipal government to increase its adaptive capacity.

Occurrence of 1153 organic micropollutants in the aquatic environment of Vietnam.
H. T. C. Chau, K. Kadokami, H. T. Duong, L. Kong, T. T. Nguyen and others. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2015, pp. 1-10.

Abstract: The rapid increase in the number and volume of chemical substances being used in modern society has been accompanied by a large number of potentially hazardous chemicals being found in environmental samples. In Vietnam, the monitoring of chemical substances is mainly limited to a small number of known pollutants in spite of rapid economic growth and urbanization, and there is an urgent need to examine a large number of chemicals to prevent impacts from expanding environmental pollution. However, it is difficult to analyze a large number of chemicals using existing methods, because they are time consuming and expensive. In the present study, we determined 1153 substances to grasp a pollution picture of microcontaminants in the aquatic environment. To achieve this objective, we have used two comprehensive analytical methods: (1) solid-phase extraction (SPE) and LC-TOF-MS analysis, and (2) SPE and GC-MS analysis. We collected 42 samples from northern (the Red River and Hanoi), central (Hue and Danang), and southern (Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon-Dongnai River) Vietnam. One hundred and sixty-five compounds were detected at least once. The compounds detected most frequently (>40 % samples) at μg/L concentrations were sterols (cholesterol, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, coprostanol), phthalates (bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate and di-n-butyl phthalate), and pharmaceutical and personal care products (caffeine, metformin). These contaminants were detected at almost the same detection frequency as in developed countries. The results reveal that surface waters in Vietnam, particularly in the center of large cities, are polluted by a large number of organic micropollutants, with households and business activities as the major sources. In addition, risk quotients (MEC/PNEC values) for nonylphenol, sulfamethoxazole, ampicillin, acetaminophen, erythromycin and clarithromycin were higher than 1, which indicates a possibility of adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems. [spr].

Gender issues

Summary of key findings of The National Report on Social Protection for women and girls in Viet Nam.
UN Women, 2014.

Abstract: In 2013, the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs (ILSSA), under the aegis of Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) conducted a research study to compile the National Report on Social Protection for women and girls in Viet Nam. UN Women, Viet Nam supported this pioneering effort towards creating a significant reference document on gender equality and women’s protection for policy makers and administrators. The study aimed to identify gender specific concerns and challenges in the current social security protection system, assess the implementation of social security policies for women and girls in accordance with Resolution 15 and Resolution 701, to forecast the results for the 2014 to 2020 period and to propose recommendations to enhance women and girls’ participation and benefits under Viet Nam’s social security system. [NW_ShortReport_English_FINAL_2.pdf]. Free full text

Access to Justice in the Plural Legal System in Viet Nam: A case study of women domestic violence survivors.
Le Thi Thuc, Le Thuy Hang, Nguyen Thi Thanh Hai and Chu Thi Thuy Hang. Nhà xuất bản Lao động, 2015.

Abstract: The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women stated that domestic violence is one of most insidious forms of violence against women prevalent in all societies1. The National Survey on Domestic Violence in Viet Nam conducted in 2010 discovered that 58 percent of ever-married women reported having experienced at least one form of domestic violence in their lifetime (GSO 2010). Despite the high prevalence of domestic violence, the issue is largely met with a deep silence within Vietnamese society. In fact, nine-out-of-10 women have never sought help from authorities or formal services according to the survey. The small number of women who pursue justice through the State legal system often face layers of obstacles with little possibility of a conviction for the offence being reached. In reality, the majority of women use quasi-State and non-State legal systems to seek redress, protection and remedies. — This is a study initiated within the framework of a regional study on women’s access to justice through plural legal systems. The regional study is conducted through UN Women’s regional programme on “Improving Women’s Human Rights in Southeast Asia – CEDAW, Phase II” with the support from the Government of Canada. In Viet Nam, the Institute of Sociology, a State organization part of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, worked with the UN Women country office in Viet Nam to conduct this study on “women’s access to justice in the plural legal system in Viet Nam from the CEDAW perspective to promote policies, focusing on domestic violence”. This study analyzes the relationship between formal and informal legal systems and identifies factors preventing women from accessing justice. It also determines specific demands and steps to address barriers in the plural legal system and increase women’s access to justice. [Access to Justice in Vietnam report_Eng.pdf]. Free full text

Tiếp cận công lý trong hệ thống pháp lý đa kênh: Nghiên cứu điển hình về bạo lực gia đình đối với phụ nữ ở Việt Nam.
Le Thi Thuc, Le Thuy Hang, Nguyen Thi Thanh Hai and Chu Thi Thuy Hang. Nhà xuất bản Lao động, 2015.

Abstract: Ủy ban về Xóa bỏ Phân biệt đối xử với Phụ nữ khẳng định bạo lực gia đình là một trong những hình thức bạo lực chống lại phụ nữ diễn ra âm thầm và phổ biến ở mọi xã hội1. Theo một khảo sát quốc gia được thực hiện tại Việt Nam năm 2010, 58% số phụ nữ được hỏi cho biết từng trải qua ít nhất một hình thức bạo lực gia đình trong đời (TCTK 2010). Bạo lực gia đình có mức độ phổ biến cao, song có một sự im lặng bao trùm lên vấn đề này. Trên thực tế, theo khảo sát, 9 trong số 10 phụ nữ chưa từng tìm kiếm sự giúp đỡ của chính quyền hoặc các dịch vụ hỗ trợ chính thức. Chỉ có một số ít phụ nữ theo đuổi tìm kiếm công lý thông qua hệ thống pháp lý Nhà nước và họ sẽ phải đối mặt với nhiều tầng trở ngại mà khả năng người gây bạo lực bị kết tội là rất thấp. Trên thực tế, phần đông phụ nữ sẽ sử dụng hệ thống pháp lý có tính Nhà nước hoặc phi Nhà nước để được đền bù, bảo vệ và bồi thường. — Báo cáo này là sáng kiến nghiên cứu trong khuôn khổ Chương trình nghiên cứu khu vực về tiếp cận công lý của phụ nữ trong hệ thống pháp lý đa kênh. Nghiên cứu khu vực được thực hiện thông qua chương trình khu vực của Cơ quan Liên Hợp quốc về bình đẳng giới và trao quyền cho phụ nữ (UN Women) về “Cải thiện Quyền con người của Phụ nữ ở khu vực Đông Nam Á – CEDAW, Giai đoạn II” với sự hỗ trợ của chính phủ Canada. Tại Việt Nam, Viện Xã Hội học, một cơ quan nhà nước, thuộc Học viện Chính trị quốc gia Hồ Chí Minh phối hợp với Cơ quan Liên Hợp quốc về Bình đẳng giới và trao quyền cho phụ nữ tại Việt Nam tiến hành nghiên cứu với chủ đề Tiếp cận công lý trong hệ thống pháp lý đa kênh ở Việt Nam từ quan điểm của Công ước CEDAW, nhằm cải thiện chính sách, tập trung vào vấn đề bạo lực gia đình”. Nghiên cứu này nhằm phân tích mối quan hệ giữa hệ thống pháp luật chính thức và không chính thức và xác định các yếu tố hạn chế phụ nữ tiếp cận công lý. Bên cạnh đó, nghiên cứu cũng nhằm chỉ rõ những yêu cầu và bước đi cụ thể nhằm xóa bỏ các rào cản trong hệ thống pháp lý đa kênh và tăng khả năng tiếp cận công lý của phụ nữ. [Access to Justice in Vietnam report_Vie.pdf]. Free full text

Health care

The complex remuneration of human resources for health in low-income settings: policy implications and a research agenda for designing effective financial incentives.
Maria Paola Bertone and Sophie Witter. Human resources for health, 2015, volume 13.

Background: Human resources for health represent an essential component of health systems and play a key role to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa face challenges regarding the availability, distribution and performance of health workers, which could be in part addressed by providing effective financial incentives. –

Methods: Based on an overview of the existing literature, the paper highlights the gaps in the existing research in low-income countries exploring the different components of health workers’ incomes. It then proposes a novel approach to the analysis of financial incentives and delineates a research agenda, which could contribute to shed light on this topic. –

Findings: The article finds that, while there is ample research that investigates separately each of the incomes health workers may earn (for example, salary, fee-for-service payments, informal incomes, “top-ups” and per diems, dual practice and non-health activities), there is a dearth of studies which look at the health workers’ “complex remuneration”, that is, the whole of the financial incentives available. Little research exists which analyses simultaneously all revenues of health workers, quantifies the overall remuneration and explores its complexity, its multiple components and their features, as well as the possible interaction between income components. However, such a comprehensive approach is essential to fully comprehend health workers’ incentives, by investigating the causes (at individual and system level) of the fragmentation in the income structure and the variability in income levels, as well as the consequences of the “complex remuneration” on motivation and performance. This proposition has important policy implications in terms of devising effective incentive packages as it calls for an active consideration of the role that “complex remuneration” plays in determining recruitment, retention and motivation patterns, as well as, more broadly, the performance of health systems. –

Conclusions: This paper argues that research focusing on the health workers’ “complex remuneration” is critical to address some of the most challenging issues affecting human resources for health. An empirical research agenda is proposed to fill the gap in our understanding. Free full text

Patient safety and quality of care in developing countries in Southeast Asia: a systematic literature review.
Reema Harrison, Adrienne Wai Seung COHEN and Merrilyn Walton. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 2015, volume 27, number 4, pp. 240-254.

Objective: To establish current knowledge of patient safety and quality of care in developing countries in Southeast Asia, current interventions and the knowledge gaps.

Study design Systematic review and narrative synthesis.

Data sources Key words, synonyms and subject headings were used to search seven electronic databases in addition to manual searching of relevant journals.

Data synthesis Titles and abstracts of publications between 1990 and 2014 were screened by two reviewers and checked by a third. Full text articles were screened against the eligibility criteria. Data on design, methods and key findings were extracted and synthesized.

Results Four inter-related safety and quality concerns were evident from 33 publications: (i) the risk of patient infection in healthcare delivery, (ii) medications errors/use, (iii) the quality and provision of maternal and perinatal care and (iv) the quality of healthcare provision overall.

Conclusions Large-scale prevalence studies are needed to identify the full range of safety and quality problems in developing countries in Southeast Asia. Sharing lessons learnt from extensive quality and safety work conducted in industrialized nations may contribute to significant improvements. Yet the applicability of interventions utilized in developed countries to the political and social context in this region must be considered. Strategies to facilitate the collection of robust safety and quality data in the context of limited resources and the local context in each country are needed. [ojo].

Household antimicrobial self-medication: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the burden, risk factors and outcomes in developing countries.
Moses Ocan, Ekwaro A. Obuku, Freddie Bwanga, Dickens Akena, Sennono Richard and others. BMC Public Health, 2015, volume 15.

Background: Antimicrobial self-medication is common in most low and middle income countries (LMICs). However there has been no systematic review on non-prescription antimicrobial use in these settings. This review thus intended to establish the burden, risk factors and effects of antimicrobial self-medication in Low and Middle Income Countries. –

Methods: In 2012, we registered a systematic review protocol in PROSPERO (CRD42012002508). We searched PubMed, Medline, Scopus, and Embase databases using the following terms; “self-medication”, “non-prescription”, ‘self-treatment’, “antimicrobial”, “antimalarial”, “antibiotic”, “antibacterial” “2002-2012” and combining them using Boolean operators. We performed independent and duplicate screening and abstraction of study administrative data, prevalence, determinants, type of antimicrobial agent, source, disease conditions, inappropriate use, drug adverse events and clinical outcomes of antibiotic self-medication where possible. We performed a Random Effects Meta-analysis. –

Results: A total of thirty four (34) studies involving 31,340 participants were included in the review. The overall prevalence of antimicrobial self-medication was 38.8 % (95 % CI: 29.5-48.1). Most studies assessed non-prescription use of antibacterial (17/34: 50 %) and antimalarial (5/34: 14.7 %) agents. The common disease symptoms managed were, respiratory (50 %), fever (47 %) and gastrointestinal (45 %). The major sources of antimicrobials included, pharmacies (65.5 %), leftover drugs (50 %) and drug shops (37.5 %). Twelve (12) studies reported inappropriate drug use; not completing dose (6/12) and sharing of medicines (4/12). The main determinants of antimicrobial self-medication include, level of education, age, gender, past successful use, severity of illness and income. Reported negative outcomes of antimicrobial self-medication included, allergies (2/34: 5.9 %), lack of cure (4/34: 11.8 %) and causing death (2/34: 5.9 %). The commonly reported positive outcome was recovery from illness (4/34: 11.8 %). –

Conclusion: The prevalence of antimicrobial self-medication is high and varies in different communities as well as by social determinants of health and is frequently associated with inappropriate drug use. Free full text

Why are people with dengue dying? A scoping review of determinants for dengue mortality.
Mabel Carabali, Libia Milena Hernandez, Maria Jose Arauz, Luis Angel Villar and Valéry Ridde. BMC Infectious Diseases, 2015, volume 15.

Background: Dengue is a viral disease whose clinical spectrum ranges from unapparent to severe forms and fatal outcomes. Although dengue death is 99 % avoidable, every year around 20,000 deaths are estimated to occur in more than 100 countries. We consider that, along with biological factors, social determinants of health (SDHs) are related to dengue deaths as well. –

Methods: A scoping review was conducted to explore what has been written about the role of SDHs in dengue mortality. The inclusion criteria were that documents (grey or peer-reviewed) had to include information about dengue fatal cases in humans and be published between 1997 and 2013 and written in English, Spanish, Portuguese or French. The search was conducted using a set of key words related to dengue mortality in several electronic databases: PubMed, LILACS, COCHRANE, Scielo, Science Direct, WHOLIS, OpenGrey, OpenSingle and Google Scholar. Information on SDHs was categorized under individual, social and environmental, and health systems dimensions. A summative content analysis using QDA Miner was conducted to assess the frequency of information on SDHs and its contextual meaning in the reviewed literature. The role of each SDH in dengue mortality was assessed using content analysis results. –

Results: From a total of 971 documents retrieved, 78 met the criteria. Those documents were published in the Americas region (50.0 %), Asia (38.4 %), Europe (9.0 %) and Africa (2.6 %). The described SDHs related to dengue deaths included, in the individual dimension: age, ethnicity, education, type of infection and immunological status; and in the social dimension: poverty and care-seeking behavior. The health systems dimension included access, opportunity, and quality of care, as well as health staff knowledge. Ethnicity was considered a determinant that depends on cultural and socioeconomic conditions. –

Conclusions: Along with biological factors, there are several SDHs related to dengue mortality. However, only a few of these have been systematically analyzed, suggesting the need for more studies on this subject to inform the design and implementation of sustainable interventions to decrease dengue mortality. These findings nevertheless provide a better understanding of the non-biological factors involved in dengue mortality. Free full text

Estimating the Cost-Effectiveness of HIV Prevention Programmes in Vietnam, 2006-2010: A Modelling Study.
Q. D. Pham, D. P. Wilson, C. C. Kerr, A. J. Shattock, H. M. Do and others. PLoS ONE, 2015, volume 10, number 7, p. e0133171.

INTRODUCTION: Vietnam has been largely reliant on international support in its HIV response. Over 2006-2010, a total of US$480 million was invested in its HIV programmes, more than 70% of which came from international sources. This study investigates the potential epidemiological impacts of these programmes and their cost-effectiveness.

METHODS: We conducted a data synthesis of HIV programming, spending, epidemiological, and clinical outcomes. Counterfactual scenarios were defined based on assumed programme coverage and behaviours had the programmes not been implemented. An epidemiological model, calibrated to reflect the actual epidemiological trends, was used to estimate plausible ranges of programme impacts. The model was then used to estimate the costs per averted infection, death, and disability adjusted life-year (DALY).

RESULTS: Based on observed prevalence reductions amongst most population groups, and plausible counterfactuals, modelling suggested that antiretroviral therapy (ART) and prevention programmes over 2006-2010 have averted an estimated 50,600 [95% uncertainty bound: 36,300-68,900] new infections and 42,600 [36,100-54,100] deaths, resulting in 401,600 [312,200-496,300] fewer DALYs across all population groups. HIV programmes in Vietnam have cost an estimated US$1,972 [1,447-2,747], US$2,344 [1,843-2,765], and US$248 [201-319] for each averted infection, death, and DALY, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Our evaluation suggests that HIV programmes in Vietnam have most likely had benefits that are cost-effective. ART and direct HIV prevention were the most cost-effective interventions in reducing HIV disease burden. Free full text

Factors associated with four or more antenatal care services among pregnant women: a cross-sectional survey in eight South Central Coast provinces of Vietnam.
Bui T. T. Ha, Pham V. Tac, Duong M. Duc, Doan T. T. Duong and Le M. Thi. International Journal of Women’s Health, 2015, volume 7, pp. 699-706.

BACKGROUND: In Vietnam, four or more antenatal care (ANC4+) visits/services among pregnant women have not been officially reported in the health system. Moreover, the factors associated with the use of ANC4+ services have not been studied in previous studies. In this study, we conducted an exploratory analysis to identify the rate of utilization of ANC4+ services and factors associated with use of ANC4+ services among pregnant women in rural areas of Vietnam.

METHODS: The study was conducted in eight provinces in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam between August 2013 and May 2014. A total of 907 women, who delivered in the past 1 year, participated in the study. Multivariate logistic regression model was used to examine the association between all potential factors and utilization of ANC4+ services.

RESULTS: The rate of utilization of ANC4+ services by women in eight South Central Coast provinces was 53.9%. Factors negatively associated with using ANC4+ services were belonging to ethnic minority groups having lower education, doing informal works, having lower income, having lower knowledge on ANC4+ services, and receiving no financial support from the husband. In particular, financial support from the husband was considered important in improving the use of ANC4+ services by women in rural areas.

CONCLUSION: The study asserted an inadequacy for ANC4+ utilization and can contribute to missed opportunities to achieve better maternal outcomes for women in rural areas of Vietnam. The necessity of introducing ANC4+ services in the national guidelines on maternal health care should be disseminated to health policy-makers. Strategies to increase ANC4+ utilization should focus on knowledge improvement and on poor, low-income, and ethnic minority women. Free full text


Energy Efficiencies in ASEAN Region.
Xunpeng Shi. in: Handbook of Clean Energy Systems, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2015.

Abstract: With the continuous growth of economy and population, electrification, industrialization, and urbanization, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) energy demand will be more than tripled during 2010–2035, which will create huge pressure on energy supply, energy security, and the environment. Energy efficiency, which offers a possible measure to mitigate the demand shock, is particularly important in ASEAN because of the dramatic energy demand growth and vast energy saving potential. Many ASEAN countries have implemented various measures to promote energy efficiencies, with Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines being the leaders. The development of energy efficiencies in ASEAN members, in terms of sectoral goals, action plan, policy measures, activities, and achievements, however, is unbalanced, which offer opportunities for regional cooperation. Good practice in some ASEAN members in the areas of goals, policy instruments, standards, labeling, and financing offer lessons for the others. Regional cooperation has been present in the past few decades fueled by ASEAN dialog countries and is further boosted by the building of ASEAN Economic Community. The considerable economic benefits from the cooperation will further sustain the energy cooperation. [wiley].


ASEAN-wide Connectivity by realizing RO/RO Shipping Network: Challenges and Opportunities.
Masahiko Furuichi, Ken Kumazawa and Tatsuyuki Shishido. Opportunities and Challenges in the Context of Infrastructure and Linkages Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design THE 2ND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ASEAN COMMUNITY 2015: Theme: Issues, International Islamic University Malaysia 2nd & 3rd March 2015, 2015.

Abstract: The vision of ASEAN Leaders to build an ASEAN Community by 2015 calls for a wellconnected ASEAN that will contribute towards a more competitive and resilient ASEAN. An enhanced ASEAN Connectivity is essential to achieve the ASEAN Community. As a key step towards realizing the ASEAN Community of continued economic growth, reduced development gap and improved connectivity among the ASEAN Member States and between the Member States and the rest of the world by enhancing regional and national physical, institutional and people-to-people linkages, ASEAN had prepared the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) in October 2010 (ASEAN, 2010). Rollon/ Roll-off (RO/RO) shipping is unique in providing seamless services of carrying passengers, vehicles, general cargoes on trucks, and containers on chassis. ASEAN had decided to take up a challenge to strengthen ASEAN-wide connectivity by RO/RO shipping network. Accordingly, the ASEAN RO/RO study was funded and conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to realize the ASEAN RO/RO shipping network development project which was listed one of the priority projects in the MPAC (JICA, 2013). This paper, referring to the JICA study (2013), aims at providing 1) a comparative analysis of cross-border RO/RO shipping practices, 2) a preliminary F/S on ASEAN RO/RO priority routes, and 3) necessary policy initiatives of legal and institutional framework on sea and land cross-border transport to ensure RO/RO shipping services among the Member States. Free full text

Urban development

Urbanization in Vietnam.
Gisele Bousquet. Routledge Contemporary Southeast Asia Series, 2015.

Abstract: Most studies on urbanisation focus on the move of rural people to cities and the impact this has, both on the cities to which the people have moved, and on the rural communities they have left. This book, on the other hand, considers the impact on rural communities of the physical expansion of cities. Based on extensive original research over a long period in one settlement, a rural commune which over the course of the last two decades has become engulfed by Hanoi’s urban spread, the book explores what happens when village people become urbanites or city dwellers – when agriculture is abandoned, population density rises, the value of land increases, people have to make a living in the city, and the dynamics of family life, including gender relations, are profoundly altered. This book charts these developments over time, and sets urbanisation in Vietnam in the wider context of urbanisation in Southeast Asia and Asia more generally.

Labor issues

Harmonious Unions and Rebellious Workers: A Study of Wildcat Strikes in Vietnam.
Mark Anner and Xiangmin Liu. ILR Review, 2015.

Abstract: The authors examine enterprise-level antecedents of wildcat strikes in Vietnam using a national representative sample of foreign-invested enterprises over the period 2010 to 2012, coding of factory audits, and field research. They predict that these unauthorized, semi-spontaneous work stoppages are more common among unionized workplaces, because the presence of a union in the workplace signals to workers that by engaging in a wildcat strike, they may be able to activate the representation and protection role of official trade unions. That is, workers can in some cases push unions from below to act on their behalf. In addition, wholly foreign-owned enterprises, investments by Asian-owned firms, and manufacturing operations in industrial zones are associated with more strikes than are joint ventures with state-owned and private enterprises, firms owned by Western investors, and firms in higher-value-added activities. Statistical results and field research provide strong support for these predictions. These findings suggest that the role of trade unions in socialist states may be more nuanced than previously assumed. At the same time, they reinforce the observation in the literature that Vietnamese employment relations institutions are unable, in and of themselves, to address worker grievances.

How Labour Market Policies Affect Innovation and Trade Competitiveness.
Siwage Dharma Negara. ERIA Discussion Paper 2015-48, 2015.

Abstract: Endogenous growth theory postulates that innovation is one of the key drivers of technological progress and productivity growth of a country. Technological improvements stemming from firms’ innovative activities can contribute to a country’s overall productivity and export competitiveness. For innovation to flourish, it necessitates an environment that is conducive to firms conducting risky innovative activities. Studies show that public policies, including labour market policies, can influence the operating conditions and institutional structures of firms to foster innovation that leads to productivity gains. However, the literature indicates that there is mixed empirical evidence on the impact of labour market policies on firms’ incentives to innovate. This paper argues that more flexible labour market policies that do not constrain workers’ adjustments and mobility will have positive associations with a country’s technological innovation competitiveness. In addition, innovation competitiveness affects a country’s productivity and trade competitiveness. Using a balanced panel of OECD and non-OECD countries, this study offers simple empirical models to measure the relationship between labour market policies and innovation capacity; and between innovation capacity and trade competitiveness. The main findings show that countries with more flexible labour market policies have higher levels of innovation competitiveness. In addition, the paper finds evidence of a positive correlation between innovation competitiveness and trade competitiveness. Free full text

Social welfare

Trade Liberalisation and Poverty: Vietnam now and beyond.
Minh Son Le, Tarlok Singh and Duc-Tho Nguyen. Routledge, 2015.

Abstract: This book uses Alan Winters’ analytical framework to investigate the effects of trade liberalisation on economic growth and poverty in Vietnam. The country launched a programme of economic and trade reforms, known as Doi Moi, in the mid-1980s which placed the economy on a transitional path from central planning to a market economy. Since then Vietnam has attained a number of remarkable achievements in terms of economic growth and poverty reduction. Although some formidable problems (such as inequality and inflation) remain, it is apparent that trade liberalisation has been associated with a big reduction in poverty. The analysis in the book focuses on the microeconomic (household) level, and there is an emphasis on tracing the effects of trade liberalisation through the four separate channels identified by Winters. Such in-depth and micro-level analyses yield new insights that support important policy lessons and recommendations for Vietnam in particular and, more generally, for similar developing countries.

From Padi States to Commercial States: Reflections on Identity and the Social Construction Space in the Borderlands of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.
Frédéric Bourdier, Jacques Ivanoff, Maxime Boutry and Olivier Ferrari. Amsterdam University Press, 2015.

Abstract: “Zomia” is a term coined in 2002 to describe the broad swath of mountainous land in Southeast Asia that has always been beyond the reach of lowland governments despite their technical claims to control. This book expands the anthropological reach of that term, applying it to any deterritorialized people, from cast-out migrants to modern resisters—in the process finding new ways to understand the realities of peoples and ethnicities that refuse to become part of the modern state.

The Economic Lives of People with Disabilities in Vietnam.
Michael Palmer, Nora Groce, Daniel Mont, Oanh Hong Nguyen and Sophie Mitra. PLoS ONE, 2015, volume 10, number 7.

Abstract: Through a series of focus group discussions conducted in northern and central Vietnam, this study gives voice to the lived economic experience of families with disabilities and how they manage the economic challenges associated with disability. The dynamic of low and unstable income combined with on-going health care and other disability-related costs gives rise to a range of coping mechanisms (borrowing, reducing and foregoing expenditures, drawing upon savings and substituting labour) that helps to maintain living standards in the short-run yet threatens the longer-term welfare of both the individual with disability and their household. Current social protection programs were reported as not accessible to all and while addressing some immediate economic costs of disability, do not successfully meet current needs nor accommodate wider barriers to availing benefits. Free full text

International Migration in Southeast Asia: Continuities and Discontinuities.
Kwen Fee Lian, Md Mizanur Rahman and Yabit bin Alas. Springer, 2015.

Abstract: This book is a collection of work by migration scholars and researchers who are actively conducting fieldwork in Southeast Asia. It presents a wide variety of current research and approaches the field of international labor migration from a regional perspective, acknowledging that the migration process goes beyond local and national boundaries and is embedded in regional and global interconnections. The chapters capture the complexity and richness of the migration phenomenon and experience, which manifests itself in a multitude of ways in a region well known for its diversity. The collection highlights the continuities and discontinuities in the linkages that have been forged through the movement of people between sending and receiving societies. Such linkages are explained by distinguishing between migration that has been sustained by a colonial past and migration that has been precipitated by globalization in the last two decades. The diversity of issues in the region covered by this volume will encourage a rethink of some of the conventional views of migration scholarship and result in a more critical reflection of how we approach migration research.

Itinerant livelihoods: Street vending-scapes and the politics of mobility in upland socialist Vietnam.
Sarah Turner and Natalie Oswin. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 2015.

Abstract: This paper explores the politics of mobility for a group of rural inhabitants attempting to diversify their livelihoods in an especially prescribed environment, namely ethnic minority street vendors living and working in upland socialist Vietnam. These Hmong, Yao and Giáy individuals face a political environment where access and trade rights shift on a near-daily basis because of the impulses of state officials, and where ethnicity is central to determining who gets to be mobile and how. We analyse three groups of itinerant vendors—those vending on the streets of an upland tourist town, the mobile minority wholesalers who supply them and other traders, and vendors who trek with Western tourists—to reveal the nature of this trade environment, while also highlighting the ways in which ethnic minority vendors negotiate, work around and contest vending restrictions in numerous innovative ways. We find that this focus on the micro-geographies and everyday politics of mobility is essential to understanding how rural Global South livelihoods are fashioned and diversified, in this case revealing specific relationships and negotiations regarding resource access, ethnicity, state authority and livelihood strategies. [wiley].

Leading or following? International societies, Southeast Asia, and the issue of migrant workers.
Linda Quayle. Global Discourse, 2015, volume 5, number 3, pp. 415-430.

Abstract: Focusing both on the global domain and on Southeast Asia?s regional international society, this article uses the English School?s (ES) pluralist/solidarist spectrum to map and compare responses to the issue of migrant workers. This case suggests, firstly, that the complexity of the relationship between global and regional societies is exacerbated by the starkly diverging pluralist and solidarist streams within the former; secondly, that the informal, consensus-oriented methods of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, though often criticized, have proved useful at global level in moving dialogue forward in this contentious area; and thirdly, that regional international societies provide highly salient arenas for dealing with this issue, but still struggle with inter-regional difference and trans-regional challenges. The questions that the topic of migration foregrounds ? the relationship between different levels of society, solidarist ambition, and regional potential ? are questions on which the ES can already provide useful responses, but which also open up promising agendas for future work.

Encounters and Mobilities: Conceptual Issues in Tourism Studies in Southeast Asia.
Victor T. King. Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, 2015, volume 30, number 2, pp. 497-527.

Abstract: There have been recent attempts to advance research in tourism studies and to redefine the rationale and focus of this field of study. Erik Cohen and Scott A. Cohen have published important and stimulating papers in a recent exercise aimed at rethinking the sociological and anthropological analysis of tourism. They propose a “mobilities” paradigm as a conceptual way forward. However, with reference to Southeast Asian research material the established concept of “encounter”, incorporating the notion of a field of social, cultural, symbolic and virtual interaction, continues to provide an alternative way to think about and analyse on-the-ground activities at tourism sites.


The ASEAN–China Free Trade Area — A Success or a Failure? A Preliminary Evaluation Based on Econometric Evidence.
Stefania Paladini and Joseph Yu-Shek Cheng. Journal of Comparative Asian Development, 2015, pp. 1-29.

Abstract: The ASEAN?China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is the first of the free trade agreements signed by ASEAN with its major trade partners, and is generally considered a success. However, while liberalization of trade among ASEAN countries has historically not provoked any major issues, things went differently concerning the ACFTA, and complaints have been raised that the treaty allows China too many trade benefits. The purpose of this article is to evaluate, using trade gravity equations, if there is any evidence that the ACFTA has been responsible for the growing trade imbalance between China and Indonesia. The model has not produced any conclusive results about the negative effects on the ACFTA for Indonesia. Given the relevance of this treaty for the ongoing regional integration in Asia, however, the coming years will be crucial in determining the form of it among the existing options and the outcome now seems more uncertain than ever. [wiley].

Developing Domestic and Export Markets and Levelling Up Trade in Value-Added: Lessons Learnt.
Ben Shepherd. ERIA Discussion Paper 2015-49, 2015.

Abstract: There is clear evidence of increased internationalisation of ASEAN value chains, as well as industrial growth. Changes have typically been more rapid in Central and Eastern Europe than in ASEAN, probably due to economic transition and joining the European Union. Germany has played an important role as an anchor economy–a source of final demand, and of technology-rich investment–and ASEAN will need to continue looking to regional economies such as Japan and Republic of Korea in this light. The emphasis in most ASEAN countries will now need to shift towards ‘moving up’ to higher value-added activities, such as research and development, which have positive spillovers for the rest of the economy. Free full text


Monitoring the Implementation of Services Trade Reform towards an ASEAN Economic Community.
Philippa Dee. ERIA Discussion Paper 2015-44, 2015.

Abstract: This paper assesses the extent to which the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) is helping ASEAN member states achieve their ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) goal of free flow of services in the region. Even after eight rounds of services trade negotiations, the trade commitments lag actual practice. Thus, if the AFAS process is to do a better job of driving real reform, it will need to be more closely linked to the domestic policy development processes in each member country. One strategy would be to switch from a positive list approach to a negative list approach to negotiations. This could be the ‘game changer’; it would require a major policy review, and thereby allow countries to develop an overall services trade strategy anchored within the domestic policy development process. Other desirable changes would be a ratchet mechanism, whereby any future domestic reforms would be automatically bound into AFAS schedules, and a mechanism to ensure that whenever mode 3 commitments are made, the appropriate mode 4 commitments are also made. Supporting changes are also needed to domestic regulatory environments. For example, some ASEAN members need to improve the quality and enforcement of their prudential regulation if they are to make further progress in opening up their financial markets to foreign participation. Finally, it is critical to have regulatory frameworks that are conducive to contestability more generally, so that when foreign companies do enter the market, they do not have an unnatural AFAS-induced advantage over domestic new entrants. Thus, the key to making further real progress towards a free flow of services in the region is to focus on domestic regulatory improvement more generally. Free full text


Accuracy assessment of mapping groundwater quality in Can Tho city, Viet Nam.
Phuong N. Truong. Journal of Science and Technology, 2015, volume 53, number 3A.

Abstract: Groundwater is one of the most important sources of fresh-water for the people living in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. Particularly, in the coastal provinces of the Mekong Delta, local people essentially rely on groundwater for domestic uses and agriculture. The quality of groundwater is hence a matter of great concern. Mapping groundwater quality over an area is needed for a better planning of ground water quality monitoring stations and efficient remedy for possible pollutions. Spatial interpolation method is often used for mapping ground water quality over an area using data from discrete monitoring wells. Different interpolation methods can result in groundwater quality maps of different accuracies. This research studies the effects of inverse distance weighted interpolation and kriging on the accuracy of mapping ground water quality in Can Tho city, Viet Nam. The accuracy of mapping is quantified by cross-validation using data of Arsenic, COD and Chloride from 34 monitoring wells across Can Tho city. The information about the accuracy of these groundwater quality maps will help the authorities optimize groundwater quality monitoring and sustainable management of groundwater resource. Free full text

Compiled by:
Vũ Thị Nha
World Bank Group
63 Ly Thai To, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel.: +84-4-3934 6845

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